The Federal Trade Commission through an act of Congress has authorized that the three major credit reporting bureaus offer one free copy of your credit report to you on an annual basis. This decision has proven to be a boon for consumers who can now find out what creditors are saying about them and quickly respond to errors and omissions. Not all offers for obtaining free credit reports are truly free. Read on and we'll explore how you can know if an offer is right for you.
First off, only AnnualCreditReport.com is the internet site established by Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax to provide free credit reports for consumers directly by the three main credit reporting bureaus. At this site, you can get one free copy once annually from each company, but you will have to pay five to eight dollars to obtain your credit score, which is separate from your credit report. You don't have to order your score, but it is valuable information that can be handy to you.
Secondly, there are companies out there who claim to offer free copies of your credit report and credit score through them. On the surface these could look like better offers, but they always have a string attached, namely other services you must purchase. These services can include credit monitoring, credit watch, and the like. Fees for these services vary, but you'll probably pay $ 8 to $ 12 per month for most services. Add it all up and you will dish out more than $ 100 for this type of plan while it will only cost you $ 20 or less through the FTC's approved site at AnnualCreditReport.com
Finally, It is not wrong for these companies to offer these services to you. It can be a bit misleading, but they usually are upfront about what is offered to you through their plans. However, if you pull your credit reports on a regular basis, then you simply don't need their credit watch service. Just keep an eye on things through your free reports and mostly everything should be okay.
If you elect to use a credit monitoring plan, make certain that you can cancel the plan at any time. Avoid annual contracts but use the companies if you need an extra set of eyes to look out for trouble on your behalf. In some cases they can be of value, but in most cases your own work will save you plenty of money over the long run.